Endangered African American Historic Sites
Tenth Street Historic District
Dallas' 12th historic district was adopted in 1993. One of the only remaining intact Freedman's Towns in the nation. It is a cohesive collection of modest folk and vernacular dwellings dating from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. In this neighborhood there are 257 domestic structures, four commercial structures, three institutional structures and one cemetery.
Freed slaves began living in Tenth Street after the Civil War ended. Many were thought to be former slaves of William Brown Miller, a prominent Dallas cotton farmer. In 1880 the Elizabeth Chapel was established, and in 1886 a school opened at what is now the corner of 12th and Lancaster Streets. Extensive settlement began when T.L. Marsalis platted the neighborhood in 1890.
2922 Swiss Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75204-5928
1511 Colorado St.
Austin, Texas 78701
Burrus Hall at Fisk University
Located within the Fisk University National Register Historic District, Burrus Hall was built in 1945 and named in honor of James and John Burrus, two of the first four college graduates in 1875. The architects were from the notable African American firm of McKissack & McKissack. The 9,860-square-foot building is a two-story brick, L-shaped plan with a flat roof, projecting entry, and stone framed arched doors. Throughout its history, it was used as the music building, a men's dormitory, and twelve faculty apartments.
In October 1978, Burrus Hall sustained damage from two arson related fires, at least one of which occurred in a second-floor practice room. The building was most recently renovated in 1992. As of 2009, windows in the easternmost section of the north wing have been boarded up and the entrance doors show signs of damage. Extensive vegetation is growing around the property, and portions of the cornice on the west and south elevations are missing.
Burrus Hall sits directly across the street from the Boyd House, another historic building on campus that is exhibiting disrepair and which the Metro Historical Commission has been advised will soon be demolished. There is a concern that Burrus Hall may meet the same fate, especially since it does not appear to have been actively used over the past decade.
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Phone: (615) 532-1550
P.O. Box 190516
Nashville, Tennessee 37219
Phone: (615) 669-4503
Isaiah T. Montgomery House
Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Built in 1910 by the founder and first mayor of Mound Bayou, the Isaiah T. Montgomery House has tremendous significance to the history of Mississippi. A two-story brick structure with a full basement, the house has a spacious front porch with impressive square Doric columns. Born a slave on the plantation of Joseph Davis, brother of Jefferson Davis, Isaiah T. Montgomery led fellow freed slaves to establish the all black community of Mound Bayou in 1887. Given its proximity to the railroad and the fertile Delta land ideal for growing cotton, Mound Bayou flourished under Montgomery's leadership. By the early twentieth century, Mound Bayou was one of the most prosperous communities in the state, with its own bank, school, industrial buildings and numerous shops. The town of Mound Bayou was granted its charter in 1912. Isaiah T. Montgomery, accountant, real estate developer, civil engineer and politician, died in 1924, leaving a legacy that should be remembered and celebrated.
The Isaiah T. Montgomery House is currently threatened by ongoing deterioration and lack of maintenance. The house is owned by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a civic organization that has expressed the desire to work with the city of Mound Bayou to restore the building for use as a bed and breakfast for medical staff and families of patients at the Taborian Urgent Care Center, scheduled to open in February 2014.
As of 2017, Mound Bayou residents are working with Mississippi Heritage Trust to fund the restoration of this piece of Delta History.
The Lowry House
1031 North Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Phone: (601) 354-0200
MDAH Historic Preservation Division
P.O. Box 571
Jackson, MS 39205-0571
Phone: (601) 576-6850
Fax: (601) 576-6955
The Mountain View Officers Club Fort Huachuca, Arizona
The Mountain View Officer's Club was constructed in 1942 by Del Webb and remains one of the most significant examples of a World War II-era military service club in the United States for African-American officers.
From 1892 to 1946, Fort Huachuca claimed the highest number of African-American soldiers at a military installation in the United States. To mobilize for World War II, the military began a large-scale building effort at Fort Huachuca, specifically to house the "all-black" infantry divisions, and built barracks, hospitals, maintenance structures, offices, warehouses and recreational facilities, all of which were segregated and, in many cases, built in duplicate.
Over 1,400 temporary buildings were constructed in a 75,000-acre area known as the New Cantonment Area. Few of these buildings remain today, and the Mountain View Officers Club is the only remaining recreational facility left at Fort Huachuca from this period.
Vacant since 1998, the U.S. Army Garrison is proposing to demolish the Mountain View Officers Club, claiming that it no longer has a need or funding to support the maintenance of this building. The Mountain View Officers Club was listed as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2013.
National Trust for Historic Preservation: Campaign Goals
- Encourage the Army to collaborate with the National Trust and other consulting parties to support reuse and preservation of this rare historic building.
- Raise national awareness of the history of the segregated military and the role of the Mountain View Officers Club and the Buffalo Soldiers in American history.
P.O. Box 13492
Phoenix, Arizona 85002
Phone: (602) 687-7092
P.O. Box 40008
Tucson, Arizona 85717
Arizona State Historic Preservation Office
1100 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 542-4009
The 14-room hotel still sits boarded up on James Island in Charleston, but a new $490,000 grant will help pay to restore the historic site near Mosquito Beach, according to the Historic Charleston Foundation.
New to the list this year is an Elks lodge that served residents of the historically African-American neighborhood of Albina and others. It was home to Elks members when the organization did not allow black members at lodges, it hosted USO events for black service members and it was a YMCA.
Another property that symbolizes the city's African-American heritage is the Mayo House. The owners of the 1895 home plan to turn it into an arts and community center on the lot where a relative's boarding house stood until it was torn down under racist "anti-blight" programs in the 1980s, according to Restore Oregon. Their plan is to turn it into a community center and hub of African-American arts, history and culture.
This old school is currently in the process of renovation, and this project is overseen by Henry Mitchell. Mitchell wants to see this property brought back to life, and you can help donate or give him a call at 501-818-9126 to see how you can help!
But this sacred land is changing, its permanence imperiled by the unholy forces of climate change. By the end of this century, much of land so recently designated as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park and the area around it could be underwater, researchers say.